Remembering Doreen Service

Doreen Service lived on Foxhouse Lane in Maghull, opposite the former Red House pub (now The Fox), for many a year before retiring to Rock Lane in Melling opposite the Bootle Arms pub. Her husband Ian died quite some years ago when they lived in Maghull and Doreen herself passed away very recently at the grand old age of 91. Doreen had been a teacher and a local magistrate.

I relate this information not just because some Maghull and Melling residents will have known Doreen and will be sad to hear that she has passed on but because she was a significant part of one of the biggest political events of the 1980’s – The famous 1981 Crosby By-election (see link below) won by the SDP’s Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams of Crosby.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Crosby_by-election

Doreen and Ian’s Foxhouse Lane home became akin to a parliamentary by-election HQ full of photocopiers, state of the art computers and dot matrix printers – it was the very early days of IT becoming big in UK politics. As a fresh faced young Liberal helping in that 1981 campaign I recall going to their house to find it full of people, boxes of leaflets to be delivered and with well known political faces of the day popping in and out for tea, sandwiches etc.

Not many people would allow their homes to be taken over in that way but Doreen and Ian were very much into helping Shirley Williams win in any way they could. And even after Shirley’s victory they backed her up whenever she needed help often putting people up (including Shirley) at a moments notice.

I really got to know Doreen well after these momentous times, following Ian’s death and her move to Melling. I would call to see her now and again to talk about the old days and indeed more modern political problems as Doreen never lost her reforming zeal. Sadly, her physical health was poor and she could no longer get around much at all, Finally she had to go into a nursing home where she died a few days ago. Her funeral was yesterday.

Thanks to Andrew Blackburn I managed to track down the photo of Doreen above which was taken in May 1992. She was a strong person who had strong views and she did not have much time for fools. We got along well and I will certainly remember her. On the face of it just another elderly lady living out her retirement under the radar yet she was of huge local political influence in the early 1980’s. RIP Doreen